First, there were the Legendary Pokemon; powerful, one-of-a-kind monsters with exotic types, movesets, and abilities. Then there were Mythical Pokemon, strong fighters often distributed through special events. In Pokemon Sun & Moon, the Ultra Beasts were revealed, a group of alien Pokemon from other dimensions. Now, Pokemon Scarlet & Violet has braved a new frontier and brought us new creatures from across time.
The Paradox Pokemon* appear late in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s story campaigns, so be warned that there will be spoilers. There are seven Paradox Pokemon per game; seven Past Pokemon and seven Future Pokemon. These time-traveling monsters appear in The Great Crater of Paldea, which can be accessed in the “The Way Home” story arc. The Paradox Pokemon look like familiar Pokemon but have new types, moves, and abilities that make them a threat to Paldea should they escape Area Zero.
Updated by Devin Amlen on March 9, 2023:Version 1.2.0 introduced trainers to two new Paradox Pokemon, one Past and one Future. These new Pokemon — Walking Wake and Iron Leaves — can be encountered through special five-star Tera Raid battles and are theorized to be the so-called “Imagined Pokemon” detailed in the Scarlet and Violet Books. However, it’s clear to see that Walking Wake and Iron Leaves bear little resemblance to the Imagined Pokemon beyond being Paradox versions of a member of the legendary trios the Imagined Pokemon call back to. Whether or not this implies we’ll see more Paradox Pokemon in future updates is unclear.
While Koraidon and Miraidon are technically Paradox Pokemon, they will not be counted on this list.
16 Iron Jugulis
Iron Jugulis is the Future paradox form of Hydreigon, the Brutal Pokemon. Hydreigon is typically characterized by its massive movepool and access to powerful STAB options in Draco Meteor, Dark Pulse, and Nasty Plot. Iron Jugulis is weaker than Hydreigon, having a base stat total of 570 as opposed to Hydreigon’s 600; Iron Jugulis does make up for this by being faster, with a base speed of 108.
However, this speed advantage doesn’t make up for the losses to Iron Jugulis’ movepool compared to its present-day counterpart. Iron Jugulis is a Dark and Flying-type Pokemon, causing it to lose access to one of Hydreigon’s favorite tools, Draco Meteor. Iron Jugulis does gain Hurricane, a powerful Flying-type move, but Hurricane can be unreliable outside of Rain. Iron Jugulis even loses access to Nasty Plot, preventing it from boosting its Special Attack outside of using its ability Quark Drive. Overall, Iron Jugulis is just a straight-up downgrade from Hydreigon – quite disappointing for any fans of the Brutal Pokemon.
15 Iron Thorns
Iron Thorns is the Future paradox form of Tyranitar, the Armor Pokemon. Tyranitar’s defining feature is its access to Sandstream, an ability that summons a sandstorm whenever Tyranitar enters the battle. Sandstorm has the effect of boosting Rock-type Pokemon’s Special Defense stat by 50% – Tyranitar’s respectable bulk combined with this boost grants Tyranitar unparalleled bulk despite its Rock- and Dark-typing.
Iron Thorns, now a Rock- and Electric-type, loses Sandstream in exchange for Quark Drive, like the other Future Paradox Pokemon. While Quark Drive is by no means a bad ability, Iron Thorns showcase just how screwed Tyranitar is without Sandstream. The double weakness to Ground-type attacks, a very common attacking type, is also a detrimental weakness that causes Iron Thorns to be overshadowed by its present-day Tyranitar. That being said, it does have a very cool-looking shiny form.
14 Sandy Shocks
Sandy Shocks is the past Paradox form of Magneton, the Magnet Pokemon. Sandy Shocks isn’t bad – far from it. It has respectable bulk, is reasonably fast, and hits fairly hard on the Special side. Electric and Ground is a good STAB combo, being able to hit both Flying and Electric types for super-effective damage.
That said, Sandy Shocks loses out on the Steel typing, an invaluable defensive type. Because of this, it may not last as long as its bulk would suggest.
13 Slither Wing
Slither Wing is the past Paradox form of Volcarona, the Sun Pokemon. Volcarona is known to be a Special sweeper, setting up with Quiver Dance and firing off boosted Fire Blasts. Slither Wing, meanwhile, is a physically oriented Bug- and Fighting-type – not a terrible combo, as pokemon like Heracross and Buzzwole have shown.
Slither Wing loses Quiver Dance (though it wouldn’t really need it anyway), and gains a bunch of new toys to play with; First Impression, Close Combat, Leech Life, and more. In particular, Flare Blitz can be quite powerful when boosted by Sun, which also activates Slither Wing’s Protosynthesis. Slither Wing may not shine as brilliantly as Volcarona, but put in some work, and you may be surprised.
12 Brute Bonnet
Brute Bonnet is the past Paradox form of Amoonguss, the Mushroom Pokemon. Fans of Pokemon VGC will know that Amoonguss is quite the star player in doubles battles, so expectations are high for Brute Bonnet. Brute Bonnet trades Amoonguss’s Poison-typing for the Dark-type; this makes it immune to Prankster moves but also gives it a crippling weakness to Bug-type attacks.
Brute Bonnet also loses Regenerator, one of Amoonguss’s abilities, though Brute Bonnet is much bulkier than Amoonguss and can hit back harder with moves like Sucker Punch – perhaps Brute Bonnet can spread out into more roles than its present-day counterpart.
11 Scream Tail
Scream Tail is the past Paradox form of Jigglypuff, the Balloon Pokemon. Though it may look cute, Scream Tail is a ferocious Pokemon of the past and is much stronger than its present-day counterpart. Scream Tail’s greatest stats lie in its defenses and speed.
Scream Tail has a respectable defensive-type combo in Fairy- and Psychic. Scream Tail will excel as a supportive asset to your team, as its poor offenses make it hard to deal reasonable damage.
10 Iron Leaves
Introduced in Version 1.2.0 by way of a Tera Raid battle, Iron Leaves is the future Paradox form of Virizion, the legendary Grassland Pokemon. Iron Leaves ditches its Fighting-type for the Psychic-type, sharing its dual-typing with Pokemon like Exeggutor and Calyrex. However, this does leave Iron Leaves with a crippling weakness to Bug-type attacks, and moves like U-Turn and First Impression are more popular than ever…
Despite its weaknesses, Iron Leaves does have several impressive strengths. Iron Leaves’ signature move, Psyblade, is empowered by Electric Terrain alongside its ability Quark Drive, allowing Iron Leaves to deal massive damage against anything that doesn’t resist Psychic-type damage.
9 Iron Treads
Iron Treads is the future Paradox form of Donphan, the Armor Pokemon. Iron Treads can actually be encountered earlier in the game during the Path of Legends as the Quaking Earth Titan in Pokemon Violet; returning to Asado Desert after beating the Titan will give you the chance to capture it prior to entering Area Zero.
Iron Treads is deceptively fast and has access to moves like Knock Off and Rapid Spin, which is invaluable for dealing with entry hazards.
8 Iron Hands
Iron Hands is the future Paradox form of Hariyama, the Arm Thrust Pokemon. Iron Hands stands out for its monstrous HP and Attack stats, complimented by great moves like Close Combat, Belly Drum, and Wild Charge.
In particular, Iron Hands is a great Pokemon to bring to Raids; Belly Drum will maximize your attack in exchange for half of your health, which can be easily regained with Drain Punch. Iron Hands’ defenses are nothing to sneeze at either, so it’ll be able to live hits even at half HP.
7 Iron Valiant
Iron Valiant is the Future Paradox form of Gardevoir and Gallade, the Embrace, and Blade Pokemon, respectively. Iron Valiant stands out among its fellow Paradox Pokemon for being a fusion between Gardevoir and Gallade, as well as having a stylish double-bladed sword that it deploys from its arms.
Iron Valiant has a mixed-attacker stat spread, being respectably fast and being able to hit hard in both physical and special categories. Complimented by an enormous move-pool, Iron Valiant has the potential to be your knight in shining armor.
6 Iron Moth
Iron Moth is the future Paradox form of Volcarona, the Sun Pokemon. Iron Moth has great stats, surpassing those of Volcarona and even gaining new tools in Sludge Wave, Discharge, and Metal Sound.
However, Iron Moth does lose one of Volcarona’s greatest tools; the Quiver Dance. Perhaps this was for the best, as Iron Moth is already more than capable of dishing out huge damage with Fiery Dance and Quark Drive. Use it wisely, and watch out for Ground-type moves – Iron Moth has a double weakness to them.
5 Walking Wake
Introduced in Version 1.2.0 by way of Tera Raid battle, Walking Wake is the past Paradox form of Suicune, the legendary Aurora Pokemon. Walking Wake surprised trainers all over with its ferocious, raptor-like appearance and Water- and Dragon-typing. Due to the past Paradox Pokemon’s reliance on Sunny weather, which weakens Water-type attacks, you’d think Walking Wake would suffer because of it.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, however, because Walking Wake has proved to be a powerhouse and a half thanks to its rare offensive typing and its signature move, Hydro Steam. Hydro Steam is a special Water-type attack that isn’t weakened by Sun – in fact, it gets stronger in Sun! Where other Water-type moves would dry up and boil, Protosynthesis-boosted Hydro Steam punches holes through teams that rely on Sun and the Fire-type Pokemon that try to take advantage of it.
4 Roaring Moon
Roaring Moon is the past Paradox form of Salamence, the Dragon Pokemon. Salamence was already a great Pokemon in its own right, but Roaring Moon somehow takes it a step further. Roaring Moon exchanges all of Salamence’s Special Attack stat for even more power, gaining Attack, Special Defense, and Speed while also exchanging its Flying-type for Dark. Dark- and Dragon-type is a fearsome combination, demonstrated by Hydreigon.
Despite its crippling weakness to Fairy, Roaring Moon possesses every tool it needs to rip through opposing teams, just like its visual inspiration in Mega Salamence. A single Dragon Dance, combined with Protosynthesis’ attack buff, is enough to annihilate almost every Pokemon that stands before Roaring Moon. The ancient past must have been a scary place if things like Roaring Moon were walking around.
3 Great Tusk
Great Tusk is the past Paradox form of Donphan, the Armor Pokemon. Much like its Future counterpart, Great Tusk appears in the Path of Legends storyline as the Quaking Earth Titan in Pokemon Scarlet and can be caught prior to entering Area Zero. Great Tusk is celebrated among competitive circles as the potential successor to Landorus Therian – that’s no easy feat.
Great Tusk is a Ground- and Fighting-type, an excellent offensive combo. Though not as fast as Iron Treads, Great Tusk has phenomenal physical bulk and can make great use of it with moves like Headlong Rush and Close Combat. It might have a middling speed stat, but even that can be improved with Rapid Spin. If you’ve already beaten the Quaking Earth Titan, swing by Asado Desert again to catch this behemoth – he’ll even have a special mark to commemorate it!
2 Iron Bundle
Iron Bundle is the Future Paradox form of Delibird, the Delivery Pokemon. Who would have thought that of all Pokemon, Delibird would be a top-tier threat? Iron Bundle is the fastest of the Paradox Pokemon, boasting a base Speed stat of 136. This allows it to outspeed not just Flutter Mane but also both Koraidon and Miraidon.
Iron Bundle’s Ice- and Water-typing isn’t anything to write home about defensively, but offensively it is unrivaled. Hydro Pump and Freeze Dry let Iron Bundle hit any Pokemon in the game for at least neutral damage, and it will deal a lot of damage off its 124 Special Attack stat. You better be nice because otherwise, Iron Bundle will put you on its naughty list – and you won’t be getting just coal for Christmas.
1 Flutter Mane
Flutter Mane is the past Paradox form of Misdreavus, the Screech Pokemon. Flutter Mane is, by far, one of the most powerful Paradox Pokemon – Flutter Mane is a Ghost- and Fairy-type, an excellent type combination granting it multiple immunities and hitting many types for super-effective damage.
Though extremely frail on the physical side, Flutter Mane has exceptional stats in its Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed, being only second to Iron Bundle in terms of speed. This allows it to fire off Protosynthesis-powered Shadow Balls and Moonblasts for huge damage, punching holes in opposing teams that don’t have dedicated counters. Though it may not look like a pterosaur as described in-game, Flutter Mane certainly gives off the same feeling of terror when you see it coming toward you.
Next: Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: Best Eeveelutions, Ranked